Boilerplate: Janine Kerr

Fortunately I was able to dig up my MiW application letter for some excellent, boilerplate-filled sentences. Off we go!

  • “I have kept a diary since I could hold a pen because I love to write.”

Okay, that is just flat out false. Babies can grasp objects pretty darn early so slow down with the hyperbole Janine, you weren’t journaling until elementary school. Besides that, what does this sentence even mean? What aspect of writing prompted me to keep a diary? This is a blanket statement that sounds nice at first but doesn’t actually explain anything about what drives me to write/what aspects of writing I truly enjoy. I bet all those diaries are chalk-full of boilerplate.

  • “A significant portion of written communication is now online through [various media outlets], and branching out into this realm will only improve my ability to effectively communicate and understand others.”

Clearly I’m trying to make some connection between traditional writing and our modern, online, screen-filled lives and make it seem like I can ~evolve with the times~ and actually ~use it to my advantage~, but the resulting sentence is really just nonsense. I do no explaining of how these other outlets will improve my ability to communicate and understand others, nor do I support my claim that written communication is more online with an example of any sort. Again, blanket statement that sounds kinda pretty at first glance. Trash.

  • “Understanding how to write to most effectively reach my goal when dealing with many different walks of life will be extremely helpful.” (In reference to my goal to get a Masters in Public Health)

It would have been much more helpful for me to explain here that in the public health field different groups and cultures prioritize different things. Understanding their priorities and catering my communication in a way that meets these priorities and makes them seem the most important while still achieving my health goal is a skill I will need to learn. Instead I circle all around this very literal explanation and phrase it as “dealing with different walks of life”. Who are these “walks of life”? Why am I “dealing” with them? It’s all just mildly offensive fluff. And, of course, boilerplate.

While there may be a time and place for boilerplate, looking closely at my own grotesque use of it is mildly unsettling. Undoubtedly, though, it’ll still pop up all over my writing. Let us boilerplate on!

— Janine Kerr

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